BlackBerry’s QNX Team Steers New OS Toward Car Safety


Forum member and all around great guy Web99 posted in the forums about the QNX announcement this week. Since he wrote this much better than I would have done, I asked if we could bring this to the front page, and he has graciously allowed it. Here we go!

Now this is what you call innovation! The BlackBerry QNX division has just announced a new operating system specifically geared towards car safety. What this means is a unified car safety platform across a vast amount of cars irrespective of its model, make or manufacturer and a potential revenue generator for BlackBerry. For the car makers it means a single platform with several car safety features and software which will make it easier for them to comply with automotive safety certifications, thus reducing their costs. It’s a win/win proposition for both sides. This new QNX operating system platform is scheduled to be launched in the third quarter of 2014.

BlackBerry’s QNX team steers new OS toward car safety

“Dubbed QNX OS for Automotive Safety 1.0, the operating system provides the back-end software for a wide range of in-car security features, including a heads-up display, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS ), and digital instrument clusters.

The issue for car makers is finding a way to bridge the gap between safety and cost-effectiveness. ADAS and heads-up displays are viewed as improvements in overall car driver safety, but the don’t come cheap. According to BlackBerry, its operating system will help reduce costs by providing a single platform with several car-safety features and software that automatically complies with automotive safety certifications, reducing car makers’ costs related to getting those certifications.”

And that’s not all! As is typically the case, Undbiter was quite confused. So Web99 was able to explain further, and he didn’t even need to get his crayons out! Web99, you must teach me how to do this!

Let me try my best to explain. 1. QNX has been traditionally used in cars for their in car entertainment (ICE) or in vehicle entertainment (IVE) aka, infotainment. So this includes audio and/or audio/visual entertainment, as well as automotive navigation systems. Including playing media such as CDs, DVDs, Freeview/TV, USB and/or other optional surround sound, or DSP systems. In cars, this is a totally separate system with its own hardware module and associated software.

2. Cars also have an electronic instrument cluster, digital instrument panel or digital dash for short, is a set of instrumentation, including the speedometer, gas gauge, temperature, etc that is displayed with a digital readout. This runs on a different module and has its own software.

3. On certain models of cars, there is the Advanced driver assistance systems aka (ADS ) systems. Example
Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
Lane departure warning system
Lane change assistance
Collision avoidance system (Precrash system)
Intelligent speed adaptation or intelligent speed advice (ISA)
Night Vision
Adaptive light control
Pedestrian protection system
Automatic parking

The above 3 systems right now are separate entities that each require its own hardware module and associated software. So for car manufactures, implementing ADS systems in addition to an electronic instrument cluster is extremely costly and getting them certified can be a nightmare.

What QNX is offering is a new operating system that will unify (2) and (3). Ie. the electronic instrument cluster and the Advanced driver assistance systems aka (ADS). A lot of manufacturers right now are reluctant to offer (3) due to cost, so for many it is an expensive add-on.

If (2) and (3) are combined into an operating system, for the manufacturer it means reduced development and certification costs by allowing safety-critical functions (e.g. engine malfunction warnings ) to run on the same hardware module as non-safety critical functions (e.g. RPM).

So if QNX is able to get a lot of car manufactures on board with this, it is a win/win situation for both, as it will give BlackBerry another much needed revenue stream from their QNX subsidiary.

Great work Web99! A huge thanks for telling us about this. I know I’m not the only one that enjoys your posts in the forums. Now maybe others will come in looking for you!


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.